I accidentally learned one of the most valuable lessons of my life one regular day when I was fifteen.
My dad had just gotten back from the bank, and was removing the cash he’d withdrawn from an envelope. As he counted out five one hundred dollar bills, I jokingly snatched one away and took off. He said, “Boy, you better get back over here with my money.” I returned, but held out the bill just beyond his reach. He looked at me and knowingly smirked as he reached out to take it.
Of course, I jerked my hand away. “Finders keepers,” I told him. “It’s mine now.”
Dad could have had me in a headlock in two seconds flat, but he indulged me and played my game for a while. Each time, he reached a little faster and came a little closer to recapturing the bill. I could tell he was messing with me, and my heart raced as I tried to keep up with him. After a while, I panicked and turned my back to him – shielding what I’d claimed, protecting it, hiding it away. And for safe measure, I tightened my grip just a little more.
He laughed and said, “You’re holding on like that’s the last money you’ll ever have.”
“Hey, I don’t know when I’ll have another hundred dollars in my hand.”
Reaching for the bill again, causing me to flinch, he said, “What are you scared of?”
“You’re gonna take it, and I won’t have it anymore! That’s what I’m scared of!”
Dad stopped the game, and changed his posture. I could see him thinking, considering something I didn’t see. He told me to hold out my hand, and I did – palm down. He turned it over, exposing the edges of the bill spilling out of my clenched fist.
“How do you feel right now?”
“But you’ve got the money… That’s what you wanted – you should be happy.”
“Yeah, but it’s a lot of work to hang on to it.”
“Yep… and you know what else?”
With that, he took the four other bills and placed them on top of my closed hand. It looked so silly. Four hundred dollars sitting on top of my fist, as I held just one hundred. Only a minute before, a hundred dollars seemed like a fortune, but my desperation to keep it blinded me to the possibility of what I could have instead. I was so busy clinging to the little bit I could get my hands on, the bit I could predict and see and feel proud of… that I let 4 times more fall to the floor, unclaimed. Mine – but never mine.
My Dad looked me in the eyes and said, “Son, it’s impossible to receive anything with closed hands.”
It’s a moment I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Sure, it’s true of money, but I’m talking about more than that. I’ve found it to be true in all things:
I’ll never get more love by clinging to the people around me.
I’ll never earn more respect by controlling those in my care.
I’ll never expand into new opportunities while building a fort around my territory.
I’ll never live the adventure I was created for while holding onto security.
I’ll never have more without first opening up my hands.
What if there’s more waiting for you? What if there’s more life than you’re living – more love than you’re receiving – more fulfillment than you’re experiencing? What if there’s more for you – but you’re so busy protecting the secure and predictable thing you hold in your hands that you don’t even see the something more that’s waiting for you?
If you know someone these words might encourage to release their grip on what they can see, so they can take hold of what they can’t, please SHARE this post.